The Northern Irish government has revealed a further £9m in payments to farmers participating in the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), bringing the total payouts since 2018 to £66m.

This funding supports biodiversity, water quality, and climate mitigation efforts. Farming minister Andrew Muir reported that 93% of the 2023 EFS claims were processed yesterday (April 16), with the remaining claims to be completed soon.

The EFS offers a five-year agreement for farmers to implement various environmental measures, with applications delivering the most environmental benefit receiving priority.

Over 58,000 hectares of key priority habitats are now being favourably managed through the scheme, and in the past six years, 1,000 km of hedges have been planted or enhanced.

Farmers can now submit claims for 2024 using the DAERA Single Application and Maps Service, which opened on April 9, 2024. However, some businesses will need to wait until April 29 to submit their claims due to updates in their agreements following reductions or inspections.